Storing and Caring for Antique Guns

Storing and Caring for Antique Guns
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When Jack Cummings of Cottleville, Missouri inherited his Great Uncle’s collection of antique firearms, he was elated. Growing up, he’d always admired the muskets and pistols, especially during the Civil War re-enactments his Uncle Wade often participated in. Unfortunately, Jack had no idea how to properly store them and when he discovered the ripped and worn out cases they were in, he knew he needed help.

When Jack Cummings of Cottleville, Missouri inherited his Great Uncle’s collection of antique firearms, he was elated. Growing up, he’d always admired the muskets and pistols, especially during the Civil War re-enactments his Uncle Wade often participated in. Unfortunately, Jack had no idea how to properly store them and when he discovered the ripped and worn out cases they were in, he knew he needed help. That’s when he turned to Ace Case Manufacturing LLC. Here are the tips we shared with Jack about storing and caring for his antique firearms. These conservative guidelines cannot cover every possible situation but will help you to care for a collection of antique firearms that you want to preserve for as long as possible and won’t ever fire.

When it comes to preserving antique firearms one of the best steps you can take is to avoid storing your guns in an environment with dramatic swings in relative humidity (RH). This means storing your antique firearms in an environment that’s a stable 40%-50% humidity. By the same token, don’t obsess over a specific RH reading. Consistency is more important. The reason why RH control is so critical is because of anisotropy, an unusual physical property of wood where wood cells expand or contract in response to changes in relative humidity. Unfortunately, large swings in RH can result in cracks caused by compression-set shrinkage. Provided the humidity in your storage environment remains fairly consistent, temperature changes make little difference to metal or wood. But be mindful of rapid rises in indoor temperatures since higher temperatures can pull moisture out of the environment and your antique firearms which can result in cracking or splitting because of a drop in relative humidity.

Proud of his antique firearm collection, Jack Cummings knew he’d occasionally want to show it off to friends. Ace Case recommended that he and his friends wear gloves when handling any of his antique firearms. This is because no protective coating will stand up for very long against repeated bare-handed handling. By wearing gloves, Jack and his friends won’t leave the oils and dirt from their skin on the gun’s wood or finish. Ace Case recommends nitrile examination gloves for cleaning and coating antique firearms. Once you’ve coated a firearm, wear plain cotton gloves when handling and showing off your collection with family and friends.

Preserving your antique firearms also requires some housekeeping. You’ll want to keep your guns as dust-free as possible since dust can trap moisture and increase the likelihood of corrosion. Avoid commercial dust cloths and use a soft cotton cloth instead. Commercial dust cloths leave an oil film behind. This oil film traps dust and dust traps and collects water vapor in the air, the last thing you want on or near your antique firearms. A cotton cloth, very lightly dampened with water, is best for dusting. Don’t use alcohol when dusting or cleaning your firearms as it can skin or strip historic finishes. Once you’re done dusting, dry your firearms immediately with a clean cloth. Don’t use spray dusting products or liquid either since these products leave mineral oil behind which also traps dust and collects moisture.

Finally, to protect his collection of antique firearms from scratches and dings, Jack turned to Ace Case Manufacturing LLC for gun cases. Heavy one piece construction with 3/8” padding put his mind at ease. And with a fold over and tie end, accessing any antique firearm in his collection was easy and so was putting a gun back into storage when his show and tell was done.


About the Author

Kara L. Gamber Marketing Director for Ace Case Manufacturing, LLC, Kara is also an avid gun enthusiast who absolutely believes in the right to bear arms. She also feels that gun safety is key to avoiding costly mistakes both at home and in public, and that every gun owner should be properly educated. She, her husband and their three children all enjoy spending family time together at both the gun range and local gun shows.
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